doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

There certainly wasn’t a shortage of great blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers this week.  In fact, it was kind of difficult to narrow the list down to the few that I talk about here.  So, the list is a little longer than normal – although it could be even longer…

Here goes…

They’re Like Metronomes

I’ve heard students compared to a number of things before…this is the first time that I’ve heard them compared to metronomes.  David Fife makes an interesting observation that includes his father as musician and the speed and pace of student learning.


There was some research released this week talking about learning styles – David doesn’t address this – he talks about speed.  It’s a compelling analogy.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

One of the ongoing arguments that you can be drawn into revolves around what office suite of software we should be “training” students to use.  It’s a debate that I would prefer to stay away from because I think the answer should be “all of them” and “none of them”.  Unless you’re addressing a need for an experiential learning placement or dealing with a Grade 12 student whose pathway is the world of work, it’s pretty much a futile experience.  The tools that we have today will have evolved so much by the time students leave education.  In fact, I’ve been using Lyx which focuses on WYSIWYM (What you see is what you mean) as opposed to WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get).  In other words, focus on the end product and don’t get involved with the formatting as you’re creating.

So, Kristi Kerry Bishop takes a really good look at education and asks an incredibly important question…

Educators often naturally teach the way they have been taught. I wonder what the teachers in 20 years will focus on for their students. How will it differ from the way we teach now?

I think an interesting activity would be to create a chart with three columns.


Focusing on what you could be doing instead would serve students better, and in preparation for their future, not your past.

And so it begins … our new inquiry.

I can’t think of a single post from Heidi Siwak that doesn’t make me stop and thing.  Her insights and plans are just gold and her thinking shared.

This time, she’s sharing some planning thoughts around “New Pedagogies for Deep Learning global inquiry”.  She mentions that it’s part of the West Cluster (Hamilton is a geographic puzzle to me…)  and the focus on these skills.

Selection_055This sounds like an extremely interesting approach and I look forward to reports on the progress as it rolls out.

Tech Death

Who hasn’t experienced Jan Robertson’s pain?


Having been on the upgrade path many times myself, I can sympathise.

What’s amazing is how much more productive you can be with new gear and how you can find uses for the old stuff.  I have an old Pentium computer just to my left that now holds up my DataShield and the power supply for this laptop.  As I look, I wonder if it might actually boot?

January 9th

I bookmarked this activity for no other reason than it’s a great example of taking something current in the news and turning it into a great teaching moment.  I think we all read the articles about cities banning tobogganing because of lawsuits.  It brought me smiles because of the silly things I’ve done in the past in the winter.  Demolition Derbies on sleds; licking bicycle bars to see if you’ll really be stuck there; …

This is a great activity that starts with….

1. Discuss with a friend some of your memories of tobogganing. Do you enjoy this activity? Why or why not? Do you think this is a dangerous activity?

and then starts digging!

Make sure you visit this blog post to see the rest of the lesson.

 New Tech for tracking assessments

My connection with Brian Aspinall has led me to meeting a number of other educators with the Lambton Kent District School Board.  They can be very insightful and James Hewett is one of them.  He’s a pretty regular blogger and I think this post was an interesting tangent after messing about with edmettle.

James shares some of the techniques that can be used for keeping track of assessments.

In the post, there are three recommendations to check out.


And, of course, if you know me, I’m excited that two of them are Canadian startups. I think this is very important so that there’s a chance that there’s a focus on Ontario Curriculum Expectations and a Canadian spell checker.

More to add to my to-do list.

This is My Story

And, of course, I can’t ignore Aviva Dunsiger’s contribution to Vicky Loras’ “What’s Your Story” meme.  When I wrote my own, Vicky and I went back and forth and I bet her that Aviva would have commented on mine by 5:06am.  (You do know I schedule my posts for 5am, right?)  Well, it turns out that it was 5:11 for her comment so I lost that bet.  But, I also told Vicky that it wouldn’t take much to get Aviva to share HER story.

She did in this post.  It could have been about many things but she chose to talk about her parking skills.


On Twitter, she’s had lots of advice like valet parking or those little markers you stick in the ground.  What’s next?  Public transit?

Thanks to all those who shared their thinking.  Please check out their blog posts and all of the Ontario Edubloggers.  There’s always great reading to be had.


2 responses to “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”

  1. […] This Week in Ontario Edublogs | doug — off the record […]


  2. Doug – thanks once again for sharing – I do really look forward to reading these posts and commenting on bloggers’ ideas. (even if I’m behind, sometimes!)

    Have a great day!


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